What we’re doing to challenge the memory thief
For many of us the end of September brought with it the promise of better weather to come – however it was also the end of a month of awareness for an issue close to our hearts.
September was Dementia Awareness month, a month established by Alzheimer’s Australia to increase Australian’s understanding of what it’s like to live with dementia, and be encouraged to create places in which people with dementia feel they are supported and can live happy lives.
This goal is important given the prevalence and effects of dementia within Australia.
At the moment there are more than 342,800 Australians living with dementia, a number expected to increase significantly within the next ten years.
Dementia can affect anyone, but is more common for people over the age of 65. It’s not an individual disease, rather the term is used to describe a loss of intellect, memory, rationality and physical functioning. There are many types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
At McKenzie we are doing our part to ensure our residents with dementia continue to lead fulfilling lives.
We’ve written about SandBrook’s tray table of handles, locks and latches for tactile stimulation of memories and the Sunshine Sensory Club specifically for residents with advanced dementia.
The Terraces also runs a daily ‘Afternoon Club’- a dementia specific one hour activity.
Residents who take part in the activities benefit from the tailored small group program which offers more personalised attention and a place for staff to focus on the resident rather than their illness.
Many of our homes have sensory gardens which stimulate all five senses and provide a vehicle to reduce anxiety and stress and promote general wellbeing for people with dementia.
The gardens allow residents to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air and also to use easily recalled gardening skills, which in turn promotes self-esteem and compensates for activities they can no longer participate in.
Similarly the use of doll therapy at Heritage Lodge provides residents with a doll to encourage expression of nurturing behaviour and pet therapy with schnoodle Laila, who visits Terraces, have produced a positive response in McKenzie residents with dementia.
Our Diversional Therapy teams are constantly learning about new ways to improve experiences for residents with dementia. We’re looking forward to seeing the ideas they come up with in future.